Close game, third period? No worries.
The Seattle Kraken used a shorthanded goal by Jared McCann in the first period then cruised with three goals in the final 20 minutes to answer a late Dallas Stars rally in a 4-1 victory, salvaging a win in the three-game homestand before a sellout crowd of 17,151 at Climate Pledge Arena on Sunday.
“There wasn’t too much adrenaline flow on the bench, just ‘take care of the next shift’,” said head coach Dave Hakstol.
The Kraken, avenging a Jan. 12 loss to Dallas, were razor sharp on another aggressive penalty kill effort in particular, scoring their eighth shorthanded goal of the season while generating an assortment of high-danger scoring chances on a second period assignment.
Jumping Dallas right from the start, who were playing on the final leg of games on two straight nights, the Kraken also knocked Dallas out of a playoff spot with Vegas, who moved ahead of the Stars, defeating the Canucks in overtime.
“We know (the Stars) were coming off back to back games so it was very important for us to have a good start, set the tone for the rest of the game,” said forward Yanni Gourde.
Ryan Donato, who put the Kraken up 2-0 on a filthy backhanded deke on Jake Oettinger, and Gourde scored a pair of breakaway goals in the third period around John Klingberg’s lone goal for Dallas, who cut the Kraken two-goal lead in half with 5:35 to briefly tighten the game.
Chris Driedger, with a pair of wins in the last three games, put together a first star effort with 29 saves.
“Dreegs was phenomenal for us,” said Gourde.
Driedger’s workload increased in the game, who stopped 13 shots in the third period to close out Dallas as the Kraken put another proverbial brick in a longer building process.
“There’s a lot of guys in the lineup who have opportunity,” said Hakstol. “I’ve been impressed by the work ethic of our team, how together we’ve been able to play with the changes, and some of the individuals who’ve stepped forward.”
The Kraken will move on for a brief two-game road trip, opening Wednesday at 5pm PT in St. Louis.